Pins and needles

I made a dolly dress yesterday. Myself, with my own hands (and a sewing machine). It’s for Sprog 2’s birthday. Note that it’s reversible. Very versatile. It needs a few finishing touches, like buttons at the back and properly stitched sleeves, but I ran out of time at my sewing class. My sewing class. Never thought I’d be using those three words together in a sentence. There are many accomplishments I wish I had in life: French, guitar playing, touching my toes, discussing difficult literature with Husband … And there are many accomplishments I’ve decided are best left to others: discussing difficult literature with Husband, cheesemaking (don’t get me started on the cheesemaking workshop in my next suburb – who the bloody hell wants to “master the art of home cheesemaking”? Middle-aged women with too much time on their hands and tennis elbow, that’s who), yoga and sewing. The idea of making my own clothes fills me with horror. Why would I want to do that? Why? Isn’t that what fashion designers are for? I briefly flirted with sewing in my early 20s. I made Christmas stockings for my family, mainly so I could shop for stuff to fill them (I had my first job, spending money was exciting. It still is.). Making those wonky red fabric things helped me realise I’m not a sewing person. I’m a purchasing-already-sewn-items person. But I have this fashion designer friend. Since having a child, she’s been over-achieving. She’s created the fabulous BubbaCool car seat cover and the Piddle Pad car seat protector (, and now she wants to teach “learn-to-sew” classes in her spare time. I was her guinea pig. I tried to get out of it, but she wasn’t taking no for an answer (oooh, that’s another accomplishment I wish I had, the ability to say no). So I scowled over to her place yesterday to be taught to use a sewing machine. I turned up with Sprog 2’s favourite frock and matching dolly frock and told her I wished to make a matching set over the next two hours. She informed me I’d be spending the next two hours learning to sew in a straight line on a piece of calico. And I’m like, uh-uh, you don’t understand. I  must make something I can put on my blog. I can’t put a photo of a piece of calico with wonky stitches on my blog. AND I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO BLOG ABOUT TOMORROW. NUTHIN’. I MUST MAKE A DOLLY DRESS!!!! So she’s like, OK. But she refused to help my friend make a Batman costume in 2 hours. Made her repair her ripped kaftan instead. Did I feel a sense of accomplishment after making my reversible dolly dress? Yeah, kinda. But mainly I thought: that made my back hurt. And my eyes. And I am so outsourcing the production of all the stuffed dog coats for my (imaginary) stuffed dog shop. And I’m not deterred by my fashion designer friend’s stories of opening a shop and not getting any customers when crazy, old, fat guys used to loiter inside, scaring people off. I’m sure that only happens in South Newtown.

PS My friend is actually a very good sewing teacher. She reckons she’ll have you making your own cushions and A-line skirts in no time. Her name is Natalie and you can call her on 0425 264925.

4 thoughts on “Pins and needles

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  1. I think you are brilliant! I leave the manual arts to my Beloved, who can cook, sew, knit, paint…and work out the hard maths. (Do you remember when we made a brown wall hanging in Textiles and I sewed it to my uniform? Quite an achievement. Or my ladybird cushion, which the Textiles teacher, knowing my SF attraction, told the class that I had made an alien cushion? I asked her if it would have got more marks if it were an alien instead of a ladybird…)

    1. No, I do not remember the brown wall hanging you sewed to your uniform or the ladybird/alien cushion. How could I forget those???? You’ve made me giggle uncontrollably. Thank you!

  2. I also flirted briefly with sewing when my daughter was small. Bought a sewing machine, made a dress (that didn’t fit) for a Barbie doll and sold the machine. I also had a sewing box for years and years. Line green plastic. Bought it in the 70s. Finally gave it to me foster son’s sister last year but had a little trip down memory lane with it before I handed it over to her. It was like going on an archaeological dig! Bottom layer was leftover fabric from the engagement dress Mum made me in 1975 then it progressed through a torn cot sheet, half-made pirate pants for my preschooler (in 1982!) son, various items of children’s clothing in need of repair, Belair Public School uniform fabric, an old striped dress of mine that I cut off to make a midriff top (oh, I long for the days when I had a fit-for-public-display midriff) and other bibs and bobs. Happy days.

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